U.S. stocks slid on Thursday, but were off session lows, after President Donald Trump said he planned to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, but his action was far removed from threats that could have ignited a global trade war.
Trump, according to a presidential memorandum he signed, will target the imports only after a consultation period. China will also have space to respond, reducing the risk of immediate retaliation from Beijing, and Trump struck an emollient tone while speaking, saying "I view them as a friend."
The three major indexes were down roughly 1 percent after Trump spoke, easing from a slide that saw them drop nearly 2 percent earlier as investors fretted over the scale of U.S tariffs and the possible repercussions on global trade.
"Nothing actually gets put into place today. It looks like there is going to be at least a 30-day window between now and when it actually gets implemented," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
"In the next 30 days the market`s going to be concerned about it, and that means we`re going to be in for more volatility and somewhat limited upside over the next month."
Still, major industrials companies stayed lower. Boeing, Caterpillar and 3M were the biggest drags on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sliding 2-3 percent.
At 13:30 p.m. ET, the Dow was down 251.93 points, or 1.02 percent, to 24,430.38. The S&P 500 was lower 25.2 points, or 0.929228 percent, to 2,686.73. The Nasdaq Composite was down 69.72 points, or 0.95 percent, to 7,275.57.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, with five of them down more than 1.5 percent. Earlier they were down more than 2 percent. The defensive utilities, consumer staples and real estate sectors were higher.
The Cboe Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term volatility in the S&P, was up 1.9 points at 19.76, near its session lows after hitting a three-day high of 21.24 earlier.
U.S. treasury prices also gained as investors shunned risk. The drop in yields weighed on financial stocks, which were down 1.45 percent.
The S&P 500 technology index, the best performing sector over the past year, fell 1.75 percent on fears of greater regulation in the wake of the Facebook data leak.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was open to additional government regulation and happy to testify before the U.S. Congress. Facebook shares were down 2.5 percent.
AbbVie slumped about 11 percent after the drugmaker said it would not seek accelerated approval for its experimental lung cancer treatment based on results from a mid-stage study.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE for a 2.29-to-1 ratio, and for a 2.50-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)